Armed Forces of the Philippines - updates

Rappler's latest stories on Armed Forces of the Philippines

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Philippine military all set for May 13 elections

May 12, 2019 - 3:30 PM

The Armed Forces of the Philippines places all its units on red alert ahead of the country's midterm elections on May 13

Batallion troops patrol Lanao del Norte's national highway on the eve of the May 13 elections. Photo by Bobby Lagsa/Rappler

6,000 soldiers, cops to secure Caraga, Northern Mindanao for May 13 polls

May 09, 2019 - 12:22 PM

'We will not allow any threat groups or individuals to disrupt or sabotage the electoral process,' says Brigadier General Tyne Bañas of the Army's 4th Infantry Division

READY TO SERVE. This file photo shows soldiers awaiting deployment in Surigao del Sur in 2015. Photo by Bobby Lagsa/Rappler

Human rights lawyers seek Supreme Court protection from army ‘harassment’

Apr 15, 2019 - 3:40 PM

The National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers says that since the start of Duterte's presidency, a total of 55 lawyers have been attacked or threatened, 36 of whom were killed

PROTECTIVE WRITS. The National Union of Peoples' Lawyers (NUPL) run to the Supreme Court to ask for a Writ of Amparo and a Writ of Habeas Data citing threats from the military. Photo by Lian Buan/Rappler

PH, U.S. forces play up friendship amid calls for defense treaty review

Apr 12, 2019 - 4:58 PM

'Balikatan is not just a fulfilment of our obligations under the Mutual Defense Treaty, but a commitment to solidify and strengthen the friendship of our nations,' says Defense Undersecretary Cardozo Luna

CLOSING CEREMONY. Balikatan 2019 closes with US Ambassador the Philippines Sung Kim and Philippine National Defense Undersecretary Cardozo Luna, and military officials from both countries. Photo by Naoki Mengua/Rappler

LOOK: World's most advanced stealth aircraft featured in Balikatan 2019

Apr 11, 2019 - 7:21 PM

The F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Force appears for the first time in the Philippines, onboard the US Navy's USS Wasp during the Balikatan 2019 amphibious exercises in Zambales

ADVANCED AIRCRAFT. F-35B Lightining II jets make their debut in the Balikatan exercises during the amphibious exercise at Naval Education Training Command in Zambales on 11 April 2019. Photo by Lito Boras/Rappler

Balikatan 2019: PH, U.S. forces 'take over' beach in Zambales

Apr 11, 2019 - 5:34 PM

Philippine and US forces bring out battle-ready ships and vehicles as they complete an exercise to take control of a shorefront in the Naval Education Training Center in Zambales

COMBINED EXERCISES. Philippine and US armed forces conduct amphibious exercises in San Antonio, Zambales as part of Balikatan 2019. Photo by Sofia Tomacruz/Rappler

PH, U.S. troops claim victory in Tarlac 'assault mission'

Apr 10, 2019 - 4:19 PM

The Philippine and US armed forces bring out their equipment for an explosion-filled exercise in Crow Valley, Tarlac

ASSAULT. PH and US simulate an attack during their live-fire exercise at the Colonel Ernesto Ravina Air Base in Tarlac. Photo by Rambo Talabong/Rappler

Fisherman held hostage by Abu Sayyaf drowns in escape bid

Apr 06, 2019 - 1:11 PM

Abu Sayyaf flees southern island of Simusa in Sulu and brings their hostages with them

7 killed in clash between gov’t troops, Abu Sayyaf in Sulu

Apr 05, 2019 - 2:38 PM

The military says 3 soldiers and 4 Abu Sayyaf members were killed during an 'intense' half-hour firefight in Patikul, Sulu

DND, AFP renew call for defense treaty review in Balikatan 2019

Apr 01, 2019 - 3:11 PM

'Remember the treaty was made in 1951, and several things have already transpired,' says Armed Forces of the Philippines chief General Benjamin Madrigal Jr

CLARITY NEEDED. AFP Chief-of-Staff Benjamin Madrigal speaks at the Balikatan 2019 opening ceremony in Camp Aguinaldo on April 1. Photo by Rambo Talabong/Rappler

PH, U.S. armed forces open Balikatan 2019

Apr 01, 2019 - 10:49 AM

Balikatan 2019 marks one of the biggest in the project's history, involving 4,000 Filipino, 3,500 American, and 50 Australian soldiers

OPENING. Balikatan 2019 opens with US Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim. Photo by Rambo Talabong/Rappler

Military plane catches fire at takeoff from Clark Air Base

Mar 27, 2019 - 1:35 PM

(UPDATED) All 122 passengers and crew members are safe after firefighters immediately responded to the scene

BIG PLANE. A C130 catches fire at takeoff from Clark Airbase in Pampanga. File photo by Carmela Fonbuena/Rappler

PH military acquires P1.5-B China-made equipment

Mar 27, 2019 - 12:46 PM

President Rodrigo Duterte’s military modernization program kicks off with the acquisition of engineering equipment to be deployed for the rehabilitation of Marawi City

MADE IN CHINA. Equipment bought from Chinese companies are on display in Camp Aguinaldo at the turnover ceremonies on March 27, 2019. Photo by Carmela Fonbuena

4 killed in Lanao del Sur clash

Mar 13, 2019 - 1:36 PM

Army troops clash with the group under the command of Owayda Benito Marohomsar alias Abu Dar

2 foreign fighters believed to be among 20 killed in Maguindanao clashes

Mar 13, 2019 - 12:34 PM

The military is retrieving body parts to identify all of the fatalities in clashes between troops and suspected members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters

Killing of cadet not related to ROTC program – AFP

Mar 13, 2019 - 7:49 AM

(UPDATED) AFP Spokesperson Edgard Arevalo says the killing of ROTC cadet Willy Amihoy was a 'plain criminal act' which stemmed from a personal argument

GONE. The bloodied school ID of freshman student Willy Amihoy who was allegedly killed by a fellow student at the Iloilo State College of Fisheries-Dumangas Campus on March 11, 2019. Photo courtesy of PNP

Sandiganbayan acquits ex-AFP chief Diomedio Villanueva in graft case

Feb 22, 2019 - 5:38 PM

The anti-graft court says the prosecution failed to prove the guilt of retired general Diomedio Villanueva beyond reasonable doubt in relation to the P53-million graft case at the Philippine Postal Corporation when he was postmaster general

ACQUITTED. Former military chief and postmaster general Diomedio Villanueva is all smiles after he was acquitted of a graft case by the Sandiganbayan on February 22, 2019. Photo by Rappler

1 soldier killed, 3 others wounded in Sulu clash vs Abu Sayyaf

Feb 14, 2019 - 6:21 PM

The offensive is part of the military's intensified operations against the Abu Sayyaf Group after the deadly Jolo Cathedral bombing

Active AFP, PNP, PCG personnel to get 20% bus fare discount

Feb 11, 2019 - 2:20 PM

The uniformed personnel only need to present a valid ID as proof of active service

An MMDA traffic enforcers stoped suspected colorum buses plying along EDSA in Pasay City on August 7, 2014, for questioning. The MMDA has questioned the LTFRB's move to stop traffic enforcers' operations against colorum passenger buses. Photo by: Joel Liporada

Duterte to certify military pension reform bill as urgent

Feb 07, 2019 - 2:49 PM

President Rodrigo Duterte backs the Department of National Defense's version of the bill, which includes raising the pensionable age to 60 from 56

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte presides over the 34th Cabinet Meeting at the Malacañan Palace on February 6, 2019. ALFRED FRIAS/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

Duterte meets families of soldiers killed in Abu Sayyaf encounter, Jolo bombing

Feb 06, 2019 - 10:04 AM

The meeting in Davao City is one of the private activities President Rodrigo Duterte has busied himself with after a weekend of rumors of his death

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte commiserates with the relatives of one of the victims who died during the twin bombings at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Jolo, Sulu as he visited Camp Teodulfo Bautista in Jolo on January 28, 2019. KING RODRIGUEZ/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

Commission on Appointments confirms Madrigal as AFP chief

Jan 30, 2019 - 5:24 PM

No one objected to AFP chief Benjamin Madrigal Jr's confirmation

CA confirms Madrigal as AFP chief: Newly-installed Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Benjamin Madrigal Jr. poses with Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III, concurrent Commission on Appointments (CA) chair; San Juan City Rep. Ronaldo Zamora, CA vice chair (far left); Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel “Migz” F. Zubiri (second from right); and Zamboanga Rep. Seth Jalosjos (rightmost), CA committee on national defense chair, after earning the confirmation of the bicameral body on his promotion to the post last December. Photo by Alex Nueva España/PRIB

Military to recommend ending martial law if enemy strength down to 30%

Jan 29, 2019 - 6:11 PM

But with baselines and deadlines unclear, Associate Justice Marvic Leonen says it could mean that martial law can last until the end of Duterte’s term

MARTIAL LAW. AFP Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benjamin Madrigal tells the Supreme Court that they will be "glad to recommend the lifting of martial law" if enemies are "degraded" to only 30%. File photo by Darren Langit/Rappler

'Prove this is rebellion,' Caguioa says of military martial law report

Jan 29, 2019 - 4:41 PM

(UPDATED) Some incidents ‘seem to be for motives other than rebellion,’ says Associate Justice Benjamin Caguioa, the member-in-charge

ORAL ARGUMENTS. Supreme Court Associate Justice Benjamin Caguioa interpellates the military's deputy chief of staff for intelligence during oral arguments on the 3rd extension of martial law on January 29, 2019. Screenshot from SC PIO

AFP, PNP on heightened alert after Jolo Cathedral explosions

Jan 27, 2019 - 12:46 PM

'We will use the full force of the law to bring to justice the perpetrators behind this incident,' says Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana

THE WOUNDED. Hospital staff attend to the wounds of the Jolo cathedral bombing victims. Photo courtesy of PTV

Army overruns Maute camp in Lanao del Sur, kills 3 terrorists

Jan 25, 2019 - 3:03 PM

3 soldiers are wounded in the clash in Sultan Dumalondong town, the military said

150 soldiers recruited for 'law enforcement, intel' at Customs

Jan 24, 2019 - 8:48 PM

This heeds President Duterte's call for the military to help run the graft-ridden bureau

College editors' alliance hits military for tagging youth leaders as NPA recruiters

Jan 24, 2019 - 5:36 PM

College Editors Guild of the Philippines claims red-tagging is part of the 'persistent state crackdown against progressive groups and individuals'

Lumad to Supreme Court: End attacks, end martial law

Jan 23, 2019 - 1:12 PM

Teachers and students of alternative schools in Mindanao also ask the High Court to issue a cease and desist order against the military

6,000 Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces keep watch of plebiscite in Cotabato

Jan 21, 2019 - 10:18 PM

AFP 6th Infantry Division commander Major General Cirilito Sobejana says the presence of MILF soldiers was not a threat to the Bangsamoro vote

MILF SOLDIERS. Troops from the MILF's armed wing, the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces, are briefed at Camp Darapanan on January 20, 2019, the day before the Bangsamoro plebiscite. Photo by Jeff Digma/Rappler

IN VIDEOS: Thousands of cops, soldiers given send-off for Bangsamoro plebiscite duty

Jan 18, 2019 - 4:13 PM

An elaborate ceremony marks the start of intensified deployments for securing the Bangsamoro Organic Law plebiscite

CONCENTRATED. Cops and police gather in Camp Siongco in Awang, Maguindanao for their send-off to protecting the Bangsamoro Organic Law plebiscite. Photo by Rambo Talabong/Rappler

AFP, PNP hold lockdown drill in Lanao del Norte ahead of Bangsamoro plebiscite

Jan 18, 2019 - 10:17 AM

Military officials say the unannounced joint exercise is part of preparations to ensure a peaceful, orderly plebiscite

'LOCKDOWN'. Police and soldiers man a checkpoint in Matungao town, Lanao del Norte, during a simulated exercise on January 16, 2019, ahead of the Bangsamoro Organic Law plebiscite. Photo by Bobby Lagsa/Rappler

20,000 soldiers, cops to secure Bangsamoro plebiscite

Jan 17, 2019 - 9:25 AM

They are expected to protect around 2.8 million voters in the plebiscite to ratify the Bangsamoro Organic Law

MORE TROOPS. The police and military will focus on securing the 2.8 million people expected to vote in the Bangsamoro plebiscite. File photo by Bobby Lagsa/Rappler

[EDITORIAL]: #AnimatED: A dozen wishes for 2019

Jan 14, 2019 - 9:00 AM

We have our own wishes for the country, its leaders, and key institutions. What are yours?

[OPINION] Proposed review of PH-US Mutual Defense Treaty: Opening a Pandora's box

Dec 31, 2018 - 12:37 PM

A veritable Pandora’s box of nasty surprises would be opened once the Philippines pushes for renegotiations. Is that what the majority of Filipinos want?

11 soldiers wounded in Compostela Valley clash with NPA

Dec 26, 2018 - 9:45 PM

(UPDATED) The soldiers encounter the rebels from the New People's Army while surveying Mount Diwata in Compostela Valley

AFP clashes with NPA in Davao on Christmas Day

Dec 26, 2018 - 9:00 AM

The military did not declare a ceasefire and the New People's Army was ordered to escalate attacks after martial law was extended in Mindanao

CHRISTMAS CLASH. The Armed Forces of the Philippines faces the New People's Army in an armed encounter on Christmas Day. Rappler file photo

Military calls for vigilance as CPP celebrates 50th anniversary

Dec 25, 2018 - 5:46 PM

The Armed Forces of the Philippines urges Filipinos to 'remain vigilant against attacks' by the Communist Party of the Philippines as it marks its 50th anniversary on Wednesday, December 26

'TERRORIST ORGANIZATION.' The Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army is declared a terrorist group through a proclamation signed by President Rodrigo Duterte in December 2017. Rappler file photo by Edwin Espejo

Magdalo seeks House probe into alleged AFP arms sale to rebels, terrorists

Dec 21, 2018 - 4:39 PM

'To preserve the honor, integrity, and the dignity of the whole AFP, and most importantly, to preserve the lives of our soldiers who have offered their lives to serve out nation,' says Magdalo Representative Gary Alejano

Police, military to jointly probe into gunrunners controversy

Dec 17, 2018 - 7:56 PM

The gunrunners are said to have gotten ammunition from the AFP's armory in Fort Magsaysay through a 'retired soldier'

Photo by Rambo Talabong/Rappler

LOOK: AFP guns, ammo found with rebel groups suppliers

Dec 17, 2018 - 6:53 PM

Police confiscate guns and ammunition worth up to P1.2 million in boxes marked 'Philippine Army'. These are seized from alleged smugglers for the Maute Group and Abu Sayyaf Group

SMUGGLED FROM WITHIN? The confiscated bullets and guns are presented in Camp Crame on Monday, December 17. Photo by Rambo Talabong/Rappler

Guns, bullets seized from rebel suppliers traced to military

Dec 17, 2018 - 4:10 PM

The PNP says the firearms and ammunition in the boxes are labeled 'AFP', 'GOVERNMENT PROPERTY,' and 'PHILIPPINE ARMY'

MILITARY EQUIPMENT. The confiscated bullets and guns are presented in Camp Crame on Monday, December 17. Photo by Rambo Talabong/Rappler

LIST: Duterte's top military, police appointees

Dec 15, 2018 - 9:00 AM

Here are the former military and police generals appointed by President Duterte to key posts in government

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte administers the oath to newly-appointed Social Welfare and Development Secretary Rolando Bautista during a ceremony at the Malacañan Palace on October 17, 2018. SIMEON CELI JR./PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

Military rule in Duterte's homeland

Dec 14, 2018 - 5:50 PM

What has martial law in Mindanao accomplished so far?

In 2018, Duterte turns to military for (almost) everything

Dec 12, 2018 - 3:21 PM

With 2018 ending, Duterte's Cabinet is now one-third former military and police men. He has turned to ex-generals to 'fix' Boracay and soldiers to overhaul the Bureau of Customs.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte does a test fire on one of the sniper rifles donated by the Chinese government while the troops conduct a sniping capability demonstration during his visit at Fort Magsaysay in Palayan City, Nueva Ecija on November 22, 2017. SIMEON CELI JR./PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

[OPINION] Martial Law Part 4!

Dec 11, 2018 - 11:25 PM

It’s beginning to look a lot like this administration is incapable of solving a problem, not because the AFP lacks the ability or the will to, but because the political leaders lack the political will or incentive to solve it

Guns not only answer vs NPA, says next military chief Madrigal

Dec 06, 2018 - 2:25 PM

Incoming Armed Forces of the Philippines chief Benjamin Madrigal Jr says he will push for a 'people-centered strategy' in battling the communist New People's Army

LOCAL APPROACH. Incoming AFP chief Lieutenant General Benjamin Madrigal Jr wants all agencies onboard in stopping communist insurgency across the Philippines. AFP Eastmincom photo

Military's 2022 plan: New army division vs Abu Sayyaf in Sulu

Dec 05, 2018 - 6:46 PM

The 11th Infantry Division will focus on the island province of Sulu, which has been a stronghold of the Abu Sayyaf and other terror groups

MORE TROOPS. Army troopers from the 30th Infantry Battalion in a file photo during a battalion formation at its headquarters in Placer, Surigao del Norte on August 2, 2016. File photo by Bobby Lagsa/Rappler

Benjamin Madrigal Jr is next AFP chief – Año

Dec 05, 2018 - 5:45 AM

Benjamin Madrigal Jr has been commander of the Davao-based Eastern Mindanao Command since November 2017

Mindanao residents slam AFP, PNP recommendation to extend martial law

Dec 03, 2018 - 6:47 PM

Groups say martial law has supposedly led to an increase in fake charges and abuses against community members

Leaders of the Barug Katungod Mindanao composed of mostly lumads, farmers, church workers and human rights defenders oppose the extension of martial law in Mindanao as newly proposed by the AFP December 3, 2018. Photo by Jire Carreon/Rappler